We often see riders slapping their horse on the neck enthusiastically at the end of a showjumping round or dressage test. Patting is considered by many to be a way of telling the horse that they have performed well – but is this the reward we think it is, or could it cause them discomfort?
Sleep is essential for life.
The quality and quantity of a horse’s sleep directly affects their health and well-being. However, sleep is rarely considered as part of a horse’s management plan. A new study has found that poor management or physical problems can lead to horses becoming sleep deprived and at risk of serious injury.
Horses communicate primarily using body language and they display a number of facial expressions.
Their eyes, in particular, can be very expressive and are thought to reveal how a horse is feeling. Many equine behaviourists and horse owners believe the wrinkles above a horse’s eye may be associated with discomfort, fear, stress or anxiety – they are often called ‘worry lines’.
A recent Danish study has looked into the injuries caused by bits, nosebands, whips and spurs in 3,414 competition horses and the results are fascinating.
Are you considering sending your horse to a trainer to be backed or reschooled? If you are then please think long and hard about where and who you send your horse to, or even if you send them away at all. Many horses come home with worse problems than they started with, and understandably so.
Great film looking at the causes of gastric ulcers in horses. Equine vet Dr Kerry Ridgeway states "We do know that there are basically only two kinds of horses – those who have ulcers and those who will have ulcers!"
Some trainers base their methods on the idea that every horse needs a 'leader' as they believe horses would have an 'alpha' or a 'leader' naturally within the herd. Is this really the case?
It's not often that we get to see images like this - a tolerant stallion humours his son - colt Wildwych Pirate - while he climbs all over him.
It has become common practice for many horse owners to use crank, drop, grackle, Mexican or flash nosebands to strap their horse's mouth shut.
As the summer temperatures rise and we all rush outside to get some sun, it is important to remember that our horses may not feel the same as we do and often struggle in the heat.
Ever wondered how your horse's life may impact on his behaviour? If you have, I would wholeheartedly recommend you watch this film.
A recent study has suggested that many horses 'may not be sufficiently prepared for competition in line with the FEI code of conduct guidelines.'
I'm not a huge fan of horse walkers, but this is a novel idea. This device is an interesting way of changing a horse's motivation to move.
Is your horse telling you something when he's yawning, pawing the ground or licking and chewing?
Great film of a horse's reaction to his owner asking him to enter water. Most horses do love paddling and rolling in water – if they have seen it before and are not worried about it.
Watching equestrian sports on television the commentary could lead you to believe the competitors are riding machines. More often than not a horse is referred to as ‘it’.
There seems to be a growing confusion over what our horses like, want, or even need. Horse owners are encouraged to focus on feed, supplements, tack, gadgets or the next new innovation in rugs and ignore the bigger picture.
While we enjoy the fireworks at this time of year we must not forget that bonfire night can be terrifying for our horses. Each year equine vets will have to treat horses that have injured themselves or had colic as a result of their fear.
To achieve REM sleep horses need to lie flat out on their side with their legs outstretched. Horse owners often have a momentary panic when seeing their horse in this state when they haven't responded to their call.
Ever wondered what your horse gets up to in his stable? This fascinating film shows 8hrs in the life of a stabled horse via time lapse camera, condensed into 8 minutes.